This year, UNESCO hosts the World Press Freedom Day Conference in Namibia, as a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration for the Development of a Free, Independent and Pluralistic Press [Declaration of Windhoek on Promoting an Independent and Pluralistic African Press - UNESCO Digital Library]. The 2021 Conference theme is “Information as a Public Good” and it serves to reaffirm the importance of transparency and empowerment in the production and distribution of public information. This is especially important, given the ever-changing nature of communications systems and the way they impact our health and our human rights.
The UNESCO seminar held in 1991 in Windhoek, Namibia initially focused on the promotion of an “Independent and Pluralistic African Media”, because of the increasing pressures and violence faced by African journalists and media professionals at the time. However, the resulting declaration eventually reached a much bigger audience and as of today, it is considered to be a milestone to ensure press freedom, independence and pluralism all around the world.
["Let’s ensure the triumph of good information over bad" – Gwen Lister - YouTube]
If you would like to have a clearer idea on how press freedom has evolved over the years in different countries, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) compiles and updates the World Press Freedom Index [2021 World Press Freedom Index: Journalism, the vaccine against disinformation, blocked in more than 130 countries | RSF] every year and provides infographics to present the collected data.
Themes such as media and press independence, freedom of information and expression, journalism and media ethics, and digital and press disinformation are at the core of the mission of Better Internet for Kids. Indeed, from a very young age, children and youth need to be given the tools and opportunities to correctly identify independent and free public information sources and to recognise and fight fake news. If you are interested in the topic, we recommend reading the following resources:
- Look back on a BIK bulletin exploring several media literacy approaches to counteract the spreading of fake news “Media literacy as a vehicle for dealing with fake news” Article - BIK Portal (betterinternetforkids.eu)
- Enroll in the MOOC “Digital literacy and online safety: How the pandemic tested our skills” to learn more about how disinformation, fake news and other online frauds have flourished during the pandemic, and how to effectively recognise them Article - BIK Portal (betterinternetforkids.eu)
- Rewatch Insafe’s workshop “Social media – opportunities, rights and responsibilities” at the European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG 2020) discussing limitations to freedom of speech on social media. [Article - BIK Portal (betterinternetforkids.eu)]
Learn more on World Press Freedom Day on UNESCO’s website [World Press Freedom Day - EN | United Nations] and keep an eye on #WorldPressFreedomDay on social media.